The Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution has said it will prosecute Nollywood actor, Yomi Fabiyi, for contempt of court after the latter aired a movie about the facts of a case under judicial consideration.
This was made known by the Director of Public Prosecution in Lagos State, Olayinka Adeyemi, on Monday.
She told an Ikeja Special Offences Court that Fabiyi produced the controversial movie “Oko Iyabo,” based on the court proceedings of June 24, 2021.
Adeyemi informed the court on Monday that despite warnings during proceedings of June 24 that the matter was sub judice and, therefore, prohibited from public discussion elsewhere, Fabiyi made a movie detailing the facts of the case.
According to her, the movie, which was aired after the proceedings of June 24, breached the Judge’s directives by revealing sensitive information about the case which is before the court.
“Despite the warnings of this honourable court, an actor called Yomi Fabiyi went ahead and made a movie about the facts of this case.
“He used real names of the parties and witnesses in this matter in the movie. Our application is to exclude him, his privies and his agents from proceedings in court.
“He is not in court at the moment but his representatives may be in court. This is contempt of court and we intend to prosecute him and bring him before this court,” she said.
The presiding judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo expressed displeasure with the development and ordered an investigation.
“This case is sub judice and you are not to be making videos and disparaging comments on social media. This needs to be investigated,” the judge said.
Responding to the allegations, the lead defence counsel, Dada Awosika (SAN), said though he was aware of the movie, it was filmed before the criminal case began in court.
“The movie is about the controversy between two artists – Yomi Fabiyi and Iyabo Ojo. I saw the movie on YouTube.
“The two of them are supporters on different sides. Fabiyi is one supporter and Ojo is another supporter.
“This movie is about the controversy between both of them and they are not parties to this case,” Awosika said.
Justice Taiwo reiterated the fact that the allegations against Fabiyi should be investigated by authorities to enable legal actions to be taken against him if he is found culpable.
Meanwhile, the movie which was debuted on YouTube on July 4 was perceived to be based on the rape allegation levelled against Fabiyi's embattled colleague and close friend, Omiyinka Olanrewaju (Baba Ijesha).
‘Oko Iyabo’ is loosely based on Baba Ijesha’s alleged rape saga, his ‘social media trial’ made use of the real names of all the parties involved.
In the infamous movie, Baba Ijesha who is being tried for alleged rape and child sexual molestation was portrayed as being innocent of the charges against him
However, its release was greeted by backlash from viewers and celebrities while many people reported it on Youtube.
Fabiyi was also indefinitely suspended by the umbrella body of Yoruba filmmakers, TAMPAN.
Also suspended was Dele Matti, who co-directed ‘Oko Iyabo’.
Justifying the suspension in its statement, TAMPAN said Fabiyi is “guilty of professional misconduct and unethical practices.”
The association said it arrived at the decision having listened to the detailed defence of Fabiyi who produced and directed the controversial film. They also said, his co-director Matti was also questioned and found guilty of the same offence.
TAMPAN said its Ethic, Conflict and Resolution Committee has found them guilty of professional misconduct and unethical practices.
According to the statement, Matti admitted his fault and regretted his involvement in the film, but Fabiyi insisted that ”it is his fundamental human right to use his creative talent to produce films that will tell his account of the trending issue”.
The committee accused Mr Fabiyi of causing social unrest with the movie and dragging the name of the association in mud.
The statement read: “Mr Yomi Fabiyi deliberately produced/directed a film without a recourse to the ethics of filmmaking thereby engaging in a work of art that is wittingly done to cause a social crisis.
“Except the work of art is a 'Cinema Verite' (a true-life documentary) no one is allowed to use the real name(s) of another person(s) in a feature film. Therefore it is professional misconduct to use a real name(s), stories and factual events of the person(s) without their consent not to talk of plot that is denigrating to that person.”
The association also noted that the story, plot, theme, title, dialogue, names and general content of the film 'Oko Iyabo' is a factual presentation that may give rise to prejudice since the matter is already in court.